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to one side, eyes closed, lips slightly parted. Galen studied him carefully, saw the blue suit jacket rising and falling with his breath. He was still alive. But what had they done to him?

"Well?" G'Leel said, drawing him back to the hotel room. "Why did he leave?"

"A moment."

Bunny twirled a tendril of hair around her index finger. "He's one of the mages who got away last night. He came back. And they say mages are clever. I don't see why we're supposed to be so impressed."

"Someday," Tilar said, "I'll show you."

"I know," Bunny said. "After you're all grown up and get your implants."

Galen located the probe. It was underground, three hundred feet below the City Center. He remembered the faint pulsation he'd heard from beneath the street there. His sensors had hinted at an extensive underground complex.

He folded the note, put it in his pocket. He pushed himself up from the bed. "I will go after him."

"How will you find him?"

"I have already found him."

"Where is he?"

Holding tightly to his side, Galen bent, picked up his coat.

"How is he, then?"

"He is captured." Galen got one arm into the coat, then found that his sore ribs made it difficult to reach back with his other arm. He forced it back, slid it into the coat.

"What about your leg?"

Galen started toward the outer room.

"He wanted you to leave the planet," G'Leel said. "I thought you had to obey him."

"He can reprimand me later."

"Wash your face, at least. It's bloody."

Galen paused, headed into the bathroom. Though the light there was red as well, he could see dark, dried rivulets along the side of his face. He rinsed them away, G'Leel standing over him in the doorway.

In the underground room, Rabelna sat. "Do we know whether they warned the other techno-mages
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